One of the most self-evident things about love is that it requires communication in order to exist and flourish
Why the Bible?
To love and be loved is the most persistent and urgent of all desires. We all know, intuitively, without anybody ever telling us, that we are made for faithful, trustworthy relationships. Our hearts are fueled by hungry yearnings for connection, interpersonal engagement, and a sense of belonging. According to the Bible, there is a simple and profound reason for this. Compare Genesis 1:27 and I John 4:16 to discover why.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of god He created him; male and female He created them” Genesis 1:27.
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” I John 4:16.
As creatures of the divine “image,” we are engineered for giving and receiving “____________.” That’s what and who we are as human beings.
It logically follows that a God of self-giving love, who would create others in His image, would be a communicator by nature since communication is intrinsic to the healthy operations of love. We would expect that God of love would naturally want to be known by those He has made. And this is precisely what we find to be the case. Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God in the flesh, got to the heart of this matter.
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not ___________ what his master is doing; but I have called you ___________, for all things that I heard from My Father I have ____________ ____________ to you” John 15:15.
Here we encounter the most incredible thing imaginable: the most powerful Person in the universe – none other than God – doesn’t want to dominate us by His power, but rather He desires to befriend us by means of communication – by making Himself known to us. And this explains why God has given us a book composed of words.
“All _____________ is given by _________________ of God” II Timothy 3:16
The Bible – here called “Scripture” – makes the bold claim that it is God’s communication device. But remember what Jesus said: friendship is the goal of His communication to us. The Bible is not intended to exert coercive authority over our national process and demand blind compliance. The bible claims, rather, to be the medium through which God discloses His love and opens the way for us to know Him, Regarding human worth Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Likewise if the bible is God’s word, then we can expect to find in it an unfolding of God’s heart. But how can we be confident that the Bible is what it claims to be?
A God Who Knows And Can Be Known
There once lived a king who was completely self-absorbed. Intoxicated with his power, all he could think about was how great he was. One day God tapped him on the shoulder by giving him a prophetic dream that revealed -get this – more than 2,500 years of world history in advance. In the process the proud king was humbled and transformed. The story is recorded for us in Daniel chapters 2 – 4 and I invite you to read them before we continue.
In his dream, the king saw a metal – man image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay, and a stone that struck the image at the feet, ground it to powder and became a great mountain. The prophet Daniel, a captive in Babylon, interpreted the dream for the Babylonian king.
Read the interpretation of the dream in Daniel 2:36-45.
Written some 600 years before the time of Christ, the prophecy received by King Nebuchadnezzar foretold the rise and fall of four successive empires and the formation of modern Europe, providing convincing proof that the Bible is of supernatural origin – that it is, in fact, inspired by God. It is a matter of historical fact that exactly what the dream foretold came to pass: Babylon was succeeded by Media Persia, which was succeeded by Greece, which was succeeded by Rome, which divided into the ten main kingdoms of Western Europe. The accurate fulfillment of the first give parts of the vision gives us the assurance that the final prediction will come to pass as well; “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which has never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
This astounding prophecy brings us face to face with a God who knows the future, which can only mean that we are face to face with God who knows us as well. He knows everything we’ve ever done and will do, everyone of our weaknesses and failures. And yet, knowing everything about us, He still loves us and longs to be our friend. Not merely a warm, fuzzy friend who will affirm us in our destructive course, but a true friend who will prove Himself dangerous to our selfishness. It was just such an encounter with God that radically transformed Nebuchadnezzar’s heart:
” ____________ I, Nebuchadnezzar, _______________ and _________________ and _______________ the King of heaven, all of whose works are ______________, and His ways ____________. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37).
Now God and the king were friends. Bible prophecy invites each of us, as well, into friendship with God by giving us a rational basis for trusting Him. Jesus explained the relational purpose of Bibwle prophecy like this:
“Now I have told you ____________ it comes to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might ______________” (John 14:29).
The whole point of Bible prophecy is to give us a solid foundation for faith in God. Through it He whispers to us, You can believe in Me! But not only does God know each of us, He also wants us to know Him. Addressing God the Father, Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know you” (John 17:3). In the Greek the word “Know” is ginosko, and refers to the intimate kind of knowing we experience in a relationship, not merely to factual knowledge. Later in this prayer Jesus enlarged the idea by asking the Father for something truly amazing: “that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). Eternal life – or salvation – is not merely and endless duration of life, but also a specific quality of life that is defined by knowing God as an intimate friend. God wants to be known and can be known. He has provided for us to know Him through the truths disclosed in Scripture.
One Core Truth
As we study Scripture we need a direction, an orientation on the biblical landscape. In this series of truth Link study guides we will discover over and over again that “God is love” (I John 4:16). God’s love is the one truth that defines every other truth. Truth is not merely a list of factual topics, but rather a composite whole that paints a picture of who God is in character. Since the core reality of God’s character is love, it follows that all truth is, simply and profoundly, an unfolding of God’s love. We can expect, then, that every true doctrine reveals some dimension of God’s love, and we can be equally certain that any teaching that contradicts God’s love is, by definition, false. This will be our working criterion in the (truth) Link study guides. With the “God-is-love” premise before us, we have the base equation for working out al truth. Our compass is now set to true north. We know where we’re looking for as we make our journey through Scripture.
Truth is not merely a list of abstract ideas or a collection of factual data. Rather, truth is an embodied reality, the sum total of which is to be found in the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is a disclosure of God’s character. It reveals who God is at heart – how God thinks, feels, and behaves. Every story, prophecy, and doctrine of Scripture invites us into personal relationship with God upon the premise that God is worth knowing, that God is attractive, because “God is love.”
Each morning you wake up and pursue life. Sure, you go after things like education and career, material comforts and adventurous experiences. But deep down you know you were made for something more – something incredible and amazing and extraordinary. That something more is connected with your Maker. Get to know Him is the most meaningful thing you can pursue and doing so makes everything else fall into place.
I want to hear God’s voice speaking to me, in my heart, through the pages of the Bible
God is fundamentally relational being. As such, He has things to say in order to communicate His thoughts and feelings to us. King David expressed well what we can expect as we explore the truths of Scripture: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” I (Psalm 119:162). God’s word is of extreme value. The kind of treasure we discover the personal reality of His beautiful love.
Go to Lesson 2 The Heart of God